Publication: August 2nd, 2012
I received this ARC from the publisher at ALA Anaheim.
Thirty-six-year-old Gal Garner lives a regimented life. Her job teaching biology and her struggle with kidney disease keep her toggling between the high school, the hospital, and her home on a strict schedule.Normally the contemporary genre is not one that I am drawn to on my own, but when I was walking around the ALA exhibits this summer. I decided to give it a shot, and I was glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a contemporary novel focused around a love story, this isn't one of those. Unless you count Gal's love of her roses. Don't let the name full you, it is not actually a book on rose growing. You do get a bit of information on creating new roses, as Gal thinks about it, and the different sections of the book are broken up by pages from the fictional book on rose care. But the roses are what keeps Gal's mind off her disease.
Only at home, in her garden, does Gal come alive. It's here that she experiments with Hulthemia roses, painstakingly cross-pollinating various specimens in the hopes of creating a brand-new variation of spectacular beauty. But even her passion has a highly structured goal: Gal wants to win Queen of Show in a major competition and bring that rose to market.
Then one afternoon Gal's teenaged niece Riley, the daughter of her estranged sister, arrives. Unannounced. Neither one of them will ever be the same.
Filled with gorgeous details of the art of rose breeding, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is a testament to the redemptive power of love.
I think what drew me to this the most that it wasn't about romantic relationships. The focus is on Gal's relationship with her niece, who she hasn't seen in years. Gal goes through life with intensity, expecting others to rise to meet it but she fails to see any flaws in her plans. So when she hits rough patches in her life, she has to reassess how she proceeds with her life. If some ways, I felt like I identified with Gal, being near her in age, and having more the same priorities in life as she does.
If you are looking for a contemporary novel not focused on romantic relationships, I would definitely recommend this one.